Passionate Advocates For The Injured

What are the recoverable damages for wrongful death in California?

On Behalf of | Wrongful Death

Losing a loved one is a traumatic experience, often especially when the death is unexpected. Depending on the circumstances that led to the loss, surviving loved ones may be in a strong position to file a wrongful death lawsuit against those responsible for what happened.

For those who have lost a loved one because of someone else’s negligence, a wrongful death lawsuit may result in a specific kind of closure to the situation. They may also be empowered to recover specific damages that have occurred – and may continue to occur – because of their loved one’s death.

Economic damages

When a wrongful death occurs in California, surviving family members can recover economic damages as part of a wrongful death lawsuit. These damages are meant to compensate for the financial contributions the decedent would have provided to the survivors if they didn’t pass away.

Economic damages can include lost wages, benefits and potential future earnings that the person would have earned if they had lived. It also covers the loss of financial support, gifts or benefits the survivors would have received from the decedent.

Additionally, funeral and burial expenses are recoverable economic damages. It’s also possible to recover the reasonable value of household services that the deceased would have provided.

Non-economic damages

Non-economic damages cover the intangible losses survivors endure due to the wrongful death of their loved one. In California, these compensate the survivors for the loss of love, affection, moral support, care, protection and assistance. In some cases, damages for loss of training and guidance are also possible.

Unlike economic damages, non-economic damages aren’t easily quantifiable. They don’t have a specific monetary value and are subjective. The court considers several factors, including the relationship between the survivors and the deceased, the life expectancy of all involved parties and the intangible benefits they would have received from the decedent if they hadn’t died.

Pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit is a complex undertaking, so it’s best to have a legal representative who can assist with getting a case established. California law limits the time for a wrongful death claim to be filed, so it should be done swiftly after the loss in question.